When living in a foreign country, immigrants often find comfort in seeing things and people from home. But new research suggests that such familiar surroundings can also decrease one’s ability to speak the language of that foreign country.
Researchers say the outcomes are the result of a process called priming, in which a cultural reminder shifts a person’s frame of reference from that of the host culture and language to those from home. Seeing a person or meaningful object associated with one’s home culture causes thoughts and words to drift toward the home language as well.
The word synaesthesia (which literally means “together sensation”) is a neurological condition where the stimulation of one sense triggers an involuntary response in another. A common example is colour-grapheme synaesthesia, which causes letters or numbers to be perceived as coloured. The precise colours perceived are unique and usually remain consistent for each person.
‘Typosynaesthesia’ is a simultaneous exploration of typefaces and colour-grapheme synaesthesia, with each letter and number displayed in a different colour, as a synaesthete might perceive them.